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Meeting the President: Disabled People’s Organisations in Mozambique in dialogue with Filipe Nyusi
In October 2019, hundreds of persons with disabilities met with the Mozambican President, Felipe Nyusi and secured his commitment to new laws, policies and strategies to improve the socio-economic and political inclusion of persons with disabilities in Mozambique.
The Forum of Organisations of People with Disabilities (FAMOD) and Mozambican Association of Disable People (ADEMO), in partnership with Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), organised a dialogue between His Excellency Felipe Jacinto Nyusi and persons with disabilities in Mozambique.
Other government officials who attended included the Ministers for Gender, Children and Social Affairs, the Deputy Minister of Labour and the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports.
The President of the Forum of Organisations of People with Disabilities, Mr. Cantol Pondja, and the Chief of Board of the National Association of Disabled People, Dr Ricardo Moresse, represented the disabled people’s movement, alongside leaders of different associations representing persons with specific types of disabilities.
The gathering was a very important event: a head of state in Mozambique directly dedicated time to meet people with disabilities face-to-face and discuss with them the challenges they face and their thoughts on socio-economic and political inclusion. Over 2000 people attended the meeting.
Opening the dialogue, President Nyusi acknowledged the progress made in Mozambique to improve “the life and rights of people of disabilities, including the approval of the national strategy of basic social security (2016-2024) and the approval of the national strategy of victims of landmines, as well as free distribution of books in braille to primary schools and the introduction of the braille degree at the Eduardo Mondlane University.”
“However,” the President added, “I am also aware that this is not enough, and I acknowledge that a lot is still to be done.”
Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, President of Mozmbique, speaks to attendees at the event.
The President commits to disability-inclusive policies
For the next government, the President committed to the revision and approval of national legislation, policies and strategies to ensure effective socio-economic and political inclusion of people with disabilities in Mozambique.
These commitments reflect the issues brought to the attention of the President by the leaders of the social movement and disabled people’s organisations at the dialogue.
For instance, Cantol Pondja, the President of FAMOD drew President Nyusi’s attention to the challenges related to medical care and medicine, to the need to create orthopaedics centres, and the need to provide free mobility equipment and the need to create a national institute to deal specifically with disability issues.
Gabriel De Barros – a person with a disability and an expert on the human rights of people with disabilities – asked the President about extending the quotas for the representation of persons with disabilities, not only in the national parliament but in provincial and local assemblies as well.
A representative of women with disabilities also spoke to the President about the need to create opportunities for women with disabilities who are doubly marginalized, first as women and second because of their disability and often their lack of education.
Dr. Cidalia Chauque, Mozambican Minister of Gender, Children and Social Affairs, talks to dialogue participants.
In conclusion, the President said:
“I believe that most of the aspects that have been raised are practical and doable. I am leaving this room with a clearer idea about what needs to be done. I totally agree that for the effective achievement of these aims, a national disability board needs to be created.”
The meeting between President Nyusi and persons with disabilities in October 2019 was part of a wide range of activities that WFD in partnership with FAMOD, ADEMO, the Parliament of Mozambique, and Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Affairs and with tecnical assistence of the Centre of Human Rights of the University of Pretoria, are pursuing to amplify the visibility and voices of people with disabilities, and support their leadership in advancing their socio-economic and political inclusion and influencing the policies of the government of Mozambique. Find out more about the activities on the Mozambique country page.
The event was part of WFD’s Commonwealth Partnership for Democracy (#CP4D) programme.
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